Visible light photoinitiation of mesenchymal stem cell-laden bioresponsive hydrogels

C. S. Bahney, T. J. Lujan, C. W. Hsu, M. Bottlang, J. L. West, B. Johnstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Biological activity can be added to synthetic scaffolds by incorporating functional peptide sequences that provide enzyme-mediated degradation sites, facilitate cellular adhesion or stimulate signaling pathways. Poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate is a popular synthetic base for tissue engineering scaffolds because it creates a hydrophilic environment that can be chemically manipulated to add this biological functionality. Furthermore, the acrylate groups allow for encapsulation of cells using photopolymerization under physiological conditions. One complication with the addition of these peptides is that aromatic amino acids absorb light at 285nm and compete with the ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive photoinitiators such as IrgacureTM 2959 (I2959), the most commonly used initiator for cytocompatible photoencapsulation of cells into synthetic scaffolds. In this study we define non-toxic conditions for photoencapsulation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) in PEGDA scaffolds using a visible light photoinitiator system composed of eosin Y, triethanolamine and 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone. This visible light photoinitiator produced hydrogel scaffolds with an increased viability of encapsulated hMSCs and a more tightly crosslinked network in one-third the time of UV polymerization with I2959.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Cells and Materials
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Bioresponsive hydrogels
  • Dynamic modulus
  • Eosin Y
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Photoencapsulation
  • Photopolymerization
  • Tissue engineering
  • Visible light photoinitiator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Biomaterials


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